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how to throw a football
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Throwing a football can be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon with friends. But if you don’t know how to throw a spiral, your afternoon spiral might become a wounded duck.

Every quarterback thinks they’re NFL great Joe Montana, even Drew Brees and Tom Brady. But most people can’t throw the pigskin like Dan Marino could. Why is throwing a perfect spiral so hard, and how do you do it?

Have no fear, my friend. This helpful guide will break it down step by step. It’s all about getting the optimal grip, stance and motion. I can’t promise you’ll be the next Russell Wilson, but following this guide should at least point you in the right direction.

Whether you throw touchdowns or interceptions, follow this guide, and you’ll at least know how to throw a football correctly. Then, you can impress everyone at the next tailgate you attend.

How To Throw a Football Perfectly

1. Grab The Ball

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Well, duh, the ball has to start in your hand. If you’ve never seen an American football before, resist the temptation to grab the ball by the center of the laces.

Using your dominant hand, hold the football near one of its oblong ends, placing your index finger near the vertical line. Make sure you have the proper football for your hand size

2. Hold It Correctly

Starting with the natural “V” between your thumb and index finger, grab the ball. Make sure two or three of your fingers are on the laces with your thumb cupping the opposite side of the ball.

Whether your ring finger touches the laces or not is a matter of personal preference. Find what works, and stick with that for consistency. Your pinky finger will either be on the laces or resting on the side of the ball.

3. Get In Your Stance

Get your footwork right. If you throw right-handed, turn your body to the right. With your feet shoulder-width apart, you’ll look and throw over your left shoulder.

When we get to motion (in a moment), your feet, hips and shoulders will need to be in line. When you make the throw, your whole body participates in the motion, creating a kinetic energy chain from your feet to your fingertips.

4. Begin Your Throwing Motion

Using both hands, lift the ball over your back shoulder. Release the non-throwing hand. This is important for balance, power and accuracy.

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While it’s tempting to pull a Patrick Mahomes and throw side-arm a TD, proper throwing motion calls for an over-the-top of your shoulder motion. Don’t pull a Mahomes unless you’re sure you can complete it.

5. Bring Your Throwing Arm Forward

Beginning with your back leg and back foot, turn your body towards your intended target. Point your front foot (left foot if you’re a righty) and allow your hips and upper body to open forward.

Bring forward your throwing shoulder while keeping the ball above your armpit at a 90-degree angle. Bring the ball forward, aim and release with the flick of a wrist. 

6. Release And Follow Through

Continue your throwing motion even after the ball has been released. Short passes typically call for an early release, and long passes usually require a more delayed release. Either way, your throwing arm should continue in a downward motion.

Your middle finger should be the last thing touching the ball after your index finger. These final touches are crucial. Use your fingers to help spin the ball, creating a solid and straight spiral.

A perfect spiral is more than just pleasing to watch. The spinning motion harnesses the power of centrifugal force to increase accuracy. Like how a fast-moving bicycle is less likely to wobble, a tightly spun pass is more likely to stay on a line. That makes the ball easier to catch for receivers and therefore more likely to be received.

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Putting this all together is where the art of the tight spiral comes in. Passers constantly improve their throwing mechanics with quarterback drills from the high school level to the NCAA to NFL quarterbacks in the Super Bowl.

It’s far from a football coach’s quarterback camp, but following this guide should give you a head start on throwing the perfect spiral. Practice makes it passable. You may not be your family’s next great football player, but you might just throw the game-winning pass at the family BBQ.

MORE: How Much Do NFL Referees Make?

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Daniell Marlow is an LA-based freelance writer for Buzzfeed, ScreenRant, and FanBuzz.  He is a Georgia Bulldog with a California Shih-Tzu and a lover of all types of football. Daniell runs a travel blog when he's not covering the sports world. Feel free to give it a Google.
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